Cats are widely beloved in the city of Istanbul in Turkey, where there’s a long history of the animals being revered for their hunting prowess that stretches back to the Ottomans in the 1400s.
This love of felines remains strongly tied to the local culture, and today you’ll find thousands of stray cats freely roaming the streets of the city, with citizens often tending to the animals, providing them with water, food, and shelter.
▼ One of Istanbul’s stray cats, Tombili, achieved worldwide fame for her kerbside leaning pose, which was immortalised in statue form after her death in 2016.
That’s not to say it’s an entirely safe environment for felines, however, as news out of the city this week revealed that a man was recently detained and fined for killing kittens and eating them.
According to police, the man was a Japanese national in his 30s from Tokyo who was residing in Istanbul. He was detained on June 14 after a local resident saw him taking five kittens in a bucket into his home.
The person who contacted the authorities said he’d asked the man where he was taking the kittens and told him to leave them where they were. The man didn’t respond, and silently took the kittens into the building.
Police say the man was detained and fined the equivalent of 130,000 yen after he admitted to killing and eating five kittens caught in the neighborhood. He is currently at an immigration facility awaiting deportation.
Locals who had been caring for the mother cat before she had her kittens two months ago are said to be in shock at the news, and people in Japan have also been expressing their dismay.
“This is unforgivable.”
“I hope he doesn’t return to Japan.”
“You wouldn’t eat them in Japan so why would you eat them there?”
“I read that people in Japan once ate cats hundreds of years ago, but that doesn’t mean you should eat them today.”
“I can’t believe a Japanese person would do such a thing.”
Animal rights activists say cruelty against animals is becoming an increasing concern in Istanbul, where there’s no threat of imprisonment for killing strays, as they’re classified as “commodities” rather than legal beings.
The Turkish parliament is currently working on a draft law in order to change this, however, which would result in harsher penalties and a safer environment for the beloved cats of Istanbul.
Source: FNN via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko
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